Vincent Galvin and Richard Belward had almost parallel life journeys before they found one another. Vincent grew up in a small town with an Evangelical Christian background and was very involved in the church; Richard, also from a small town, was raised Catholic and followed the path set out for him. Both married women in their twenties and had children. Both knew they were gay. When they were in their thirties, they came out, and chose to live their authentic lives. It was then that they found each other, and ultimately, true love.
Richard, 47, has three children – Victoria,19, and twins Ethan and Emma,14 - from his previous marriage; Vincent, 49, has four children with ex-wife - Katie Scarlett, 25, Olivia, 23, Harrison, 20, Preston, 18. Together, that makes seven.
Although how Richard and Vincent came out to their children was different, both in part to their children's ages and the joint decision they made with their ex-wives, the husbands understood the importance of modeling the behavior they expected from their kids, and also to show them what a loving relationship looked like. "My children were younger when Vincent and I got together … they didn't understand sexuality so I didn't sit them down and explain I was gay as much as raise them in an environment where they saw me with a loving partner and husband," explained Richard. "They were just raised with two dads; there was never any question, it was just the normal."
Richard and Vincent were married 4 years ago in a ceremony in France, and above is a family photo from their engagement party. "We hosted a masquerade ball and we were able to get this amazing picture of our very modern day blended family!" said Richard. "There have been challenges along the way, just like any family, but everyone has survived and is doing well!"
"The kids have grown so much since that picture, it's hard to believe what amazing adults they are/have become," Vincent added. "Several are active in the LGBT community and they all just are genuinely great people!"
The dads are also very thankful to their ex-wives with whom they have great ongoing relationships. "I help them both with decorating," joked Richard, "and we get together on a regular basis with and without the kids." The family motto is 'united we stand, divided we fall' and that has been their approach to parenting.
But having a blended family has sometimes meant finding what works for each of their children individually. While the rules and expectations with accountability are the same, the dads recognize that each of their children are unique with certain needs greater than others. "Having children can be challenging enough; blending families with co-parents can be extremely challenging," explained Richard "Getting everyone on the same page to provide a solid foundation is a lot of work but the results are amazing." Communication, compromise, and a united front, the dads (and moms) agree, has been the best lesson for them all as a family.
Neither Richard or Vincent regret not coming out earlier in life as their experiences make them who they are today, and being dads to their children has enriched their lives beyond words. "If I were to change anything in my past I might not have the amazing family I have today!" said Vincent.
Richard and Vincent's oldest daughters now live independently, so they've begun to make Sundays the regular family get-together day, with everybody welcome around for breakfast and the dads' promise lots of food. When asked about the future, Richard said, "I see a house full, not just my children but maybe their spouses and even grandchildren. I see wonderful memories, lots of laughter and a lot of love!"